03 July, 2017

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Final event of the Bulgarian-Swiss project “For the Balkan and the People”

Inspiring examples of pro-biodiversity businesses in the Natura 2000 zones and new vision for the development and protection of nature in Bulgaria are the key topics for discussion at the International Forum Mission “Clean food for fair livelihood” on 5 July 2017 in Sofia. The forum is the final event of the Bulgarian-Swiss project “For the Balkan and the People”, although the team believes the initiative will last.

Produced in small farm, the most demanded food nowadays is seeking for the shortest route to people who really value it quality. It is made in a sustainable and nature-friendly way. Does this, however, mean that it is profitable for its producers providing them fair livelihood? Why more and more people are turning back to the old traditions, ancient breeds and plant varieties, as well as to the biodiversity? And why do they start to spent private money this endeavours? What is driving engine on the growing number of people to care for nature? How entrepreneurship for a cause happened to become a reality?

Minister of Agriculture, Food and Forestry Rumen Porozhanov, Ambassador of Switzerland Denis Knobel, Deputy Minister of Environment and Water Atanaska Nikolova, Rector of Sofia University Prof. Anastas Gerdzhikov and EU representatives will open the Forum.

„Clean food for fair livelihood“: mission possible

Supported by the Bulgarian-Swiss Cooperation Programme, "For the Balkan and the People" Project promotes the efforts of institutions, civic organizations and small and medium businesses in nine Natura 2000 zones in the Western and Central Balkan Range for economic development in harmony with the nature. This approach won for the project the prestigious Natura 2000 Award of the European Commission in the category "Socio-economic benefits” for 2016. The major result of the project is the demonstration of Natura 2000 as an opportunity for a fair livelihood of the local people. The personal success stories of dozens of farmers and entrepreneurs are inspiring examples to be followed. The model of "For the Balkan and for the people" is a topic to be discussed and proceed to decisions for the economically poor, but opulent in biodiversity regions in Bulgaria, which can prosper.

Four modules – 18 speakers – large variety of topics for food, nature and livelihood

The presentations and discussions of Mission “Natural food for fair livelihood are organized in four one-hour modules. In „Produced in the farm” Stoilko from BIOSELENA Foundation and Chef Andre Tokev will talk about the need of quality farmer’s food. Farmers and entrepreneurs from Switzerland and Bulgaria (Andreas Wuethrich, Lyubomir Nokov and Philip Harmandzhiev) will present the farming as possible mission, whereas the topic of Swiss marketing expert Anna Perre will be the joint farmer’s brand as a guarantee label for the consumers.

The Module „Entrepreneurship with a cause“ presents the personal stories of Maia Angelova from the small village of Prevala in Western Bulgaria, who made a giant step from an armory to a bakery, Kalin Klassanov with a case of a working financial mechanism for nature protection and Marieta Terzhieva from , Nature Children Academy Uzana, near Gabrovo.

Why engaging for nature is so important?“ – the opinions will come from people of different experience and professional occupations: Marin Bodakov, professor lecture at Sofia University and Petya Kukudeva, children's author and traveller, international expert Bertrand Sansonnens from Pro Natura and environmentalist Alexander Dunchev from WWF – Bulgaria.

Local examples from the areas across the Bulgarian-Serbian borders are the highlight of 4th module, „The richness of the local breeds“. The preservation of traditional varieties of apples is the cause of Olya Genova from Vrachanski Balkan Nature Park. Assoc. Prof. Vesselka Toncheva from the Ethnographic Institute with a Museum of Bulgarian Academy of Sciences presents a non-traditional view to the nature diversity, the rich folklore diversity of Bulgaria, its lost and revived traditions.

Open to a wide audience, the Forum’s admission is free of charge, as well as the life streaming in the Facebook event: Mission “Clean food for fair livelihood”, where online questions can be sent.

NATURA Fest, the outdoor part of the Forum will start in the late afternoon in Park Zaimov, near Sofia Theater.

The event is organized under the patronage of the Swiss Ambassador Denis Knobel. The Foundation for organic agriculture BIOSELENA, the Association of the Parks in Bulgaria, the Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation, the Bulgarian Association for the Protection of the Birds, WWF-Bulgaria, the Executive Agency for Selection and Reproduction in Animal Breeding, as well as REDD, SAVE, Pro Natura и BirdLife – Switzerland are organizers of the Forum, in cooperation with Sofia University “St.Kliment Ohridski”.

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